The northern California coffee company has also broadened the capabilities of the Hive platform to include batch brewing of espresso-like concentrate, alongside existing cold brew coffee brewing.
The Hive Cafe is a simplified semi-automatic system intended for use by individual coffee shops or small chains with modest demand for fresh daily coffee concentrate.
Baristas pre-wet up to 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of dry ground coffee prior to loading the patented Hive brewing chamber. Above that, the barista positions a 1-gallon steel fresh water container.
Water from the steel container flows by gravity down through an array of precisely calibrated holes that dispense droplets evenly across the coffee bed. As the water is gently and naturally “wicked” through the grounds without disturbing fines, no additional filtration beyond the reusable built-in steel filter at the bottom of the brew chamber is needed for clean, clear concentrate that’s ready to dilute and serve, according to the company.
Within 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the grind, the Hive Cafe yields up to 0.6 gallons of concentrate measuring potentially as high as 10 brix, according to the company. Torr Industries suggests this can be diluted for up to 3 gallons of 2 brix RTD cold or hot brew, or used as an espresso equivalent straight from the brewer.
“We have been leveraging this capability,” Torr Industries President Tim Orr told Daily Coffee News. “Every customer has its customer demand that drives this. We can accomplish both needs with our equipment and as such we adapt to each customer’s needs.”
The company also encourages experimentation with different temperatures as well as with sampling and potentially isolating the concentrate produced after certain durations, parsing the initial extract from the later extract to create multiple unique products from a single batch.
“The first pouring of concentrate out of our brew cell can be as high as 28 brix,” said Orr. “It is very sweet and dark, and has an amazing aroma and flavor devoid of any acidity at all. Some of my customers taste these segregated samples and have a hard time understanding what category to put it in. I understand this thick first concentrate to be only part of the extraction, and I know that the following flow has more of the other elements of the ‘whole bean.’ It is, however, interesting to experience the different flavors that occur when separated. It’s like breaking light in a spectroscope, in a way.”
While substantially faster than conventional overnight cold brew, the Hive method requires much more time than conventional espresso, which Orr suggestes can be an asset when dialing in batches.
“The way our system works allows the ability to section off the brew much like a ristretto shot, but with the exception that our brew is in minutes, not seconds,” said Orr. “The parsing of the brew is much more controlled, and gives the ability to sample and test concentration actively during the brew. This is wildly different from pulling an espresso.”
The Hive Cafe brewer is currently available for $799.
Other recent releases by Torr Industries include the HiveFusion machines, which automatically pre-infuses dry coffee with water and auto-loads the wet grounds into commercial Hive Brew brew chambers, as well as fully aseptic bag-in-box filling systems for low-acid products.
The company plans to soon roll out a fully automated rotary brewing system for delivering water to multiple production-size Hive Brew cells, similarly to a high-speed canning system.
Farther on the horizon is an even smaller system than the Hive Cafe that might target home coffee brewers, with a price tag under $100, Orr said. The Hive Cafe brewers are shipping now.
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